As I was reading in Matthew 17, this passage is an interesting one. It begins with Jesus taking his disciples up to a high mountain. While they were there, something amazing happened to Jesus and he was transfigured (Matthew 17:1-13).
The next portion of scripture (Matthew 17:14-19), Jesus has an encounter with a demon possessed boy. The father of the boy tells Jesus that earlier he asked his disciples to cast out the demon, but the disciples could not. Jesus rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith and then cast the demon from the boy.
Jesus concludes this portion of scripture with this profound statement. Matthew 17:20-21 says, "'Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'"
When I read this, I thought about that phrase we often say, of "making mountains out of mole hills." Then I wondered if Jesus was really saying that we make mountains in our lives out of our fear, doubt and unbelief. Jesus starts out by saying they have so little faith. If we looked at fear more like a mole hill, we would change the world. But often we let the fear, doubt and unbelief become a man-made mountain, and actually becomes a place of worship for us. I've heard that what you worry about is what you worship. We build our own high place. We start adding accessories to it, that it becomes greater than it should.
In the days when the Israelites were conquering Israel, God was pretty clear to them that they were to destroy the false gods where the people of Canaan worshipped on the high mountains (Deuteronomy 12:2). You see, only God is to be worshipped on the high mountain. It takes faith to enter into the presence of the Lord. God met Moses on top of the Mount Sinai and it was there that He made a covenant with Moses. The very first commandment being "Do not worship any other gods (Exodus 20:1-17)." This would include the gods of worry and fear. When Moses came down from the mountain after being with God, the glory of God was all over Moses, so much so his face had to be covered with a veil it was so bright (Exodus 34:29-35).
Jesus wasn't saying that mountains are bad in Matthew 17. In fact, he doesn't say speak to all mountains, he says to "this" mountain which I think could be the mountain of fear, doubt and unbelief. God wants to meet us up on the mountain tops of faith. That is where we are transformed.
What mountains of fear have you created that need to become mole hills? You can't go around it. You can't go under it. You can't go over it. You have to just "move" it! Instead, stand on the word of God, enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise and there you will find joy. When we are filled with the joy of the Lord, it reflects our faith. It's in that high place that we look down from and see that our mountains of fear are nothing but mole hills.